Type of Well: Borehole with Indian Mark II Hand Pump
Approximate Number of People Served: 5000
Location: Kawe Primary School, Tanzania, Africa
Date of Construction: August 6, 2007
Total Depth: 60 meters
Cost: $15,000 USD
Drilling Company Used: Maji Tech/Living Water International
Water Condition Before and After the Well: Only 10 households out of hundreds in Kawe had access to the piped water supplied by the government. The pipes were contaminated due to people digging them up, and cutting them to steal the water, so even the households that had access to it couldn't fully rely on it.
Tennille and Alexi first traveled to Tanzania in 2006, through another organization, and stayed with Juliana (Bibi) Mkini at her home in Kawe. They were told by the people who organized the trip that part of their fee for the trip would be used to assist in providing a clean water well to the school. After participating with the entire community to dig a massive hole at the school, all of the volunteers (who had no prior experience of a trip like this) thought that they had done something to truly serve everyone living there. Tennille and Alexi had already formed E.P.I.C., but they decided to take this trip with an established organization to gain some experience. They asked Bibi (who they were staying with) if she could take them to meet with different households in the community to ask them what their needs were. Bibi agreed, but she told the girls that if she took them to meet with her neighbors, they had to really be serious about coming back to help the community. She told the girls that other people had come to stay with them from overseas, and promised so many things to the community, but after they left, they never came back. Tennille and Alexi promised to stay true to their word, and a huge part of why E.P.I.C. is what it is today is because of that conversation. After meeting with different households in the community, everyone said that the thing that they needed the most was access to clean water.
Tennille and Alexi were the only volunteers to stay in touch with Bibi and her family after they returned to the States, and in doing so, they found out that the hole that they dug in the community with the other volunteers ended up being covered over with cement, and never became a well. The organization that they volunteered with stopped going to Tanzania after their trip, because Tennille and Alexi held them accountable for breaking their word with the local people. Remembering their conversation with Bibi, the girls did everything they could over the next year to raise enough money to drill a clean water well in that community the following year. The Kawe well is the first well that E.P.I.C. ever drilled, and Tennille and Alexi have since used the water from it on a couple of occasions while staying with Bibi at her home in Kawe.
The school in Kawe is thriving, and the children's grades all improved since having access to the water. Tennille and Alexi conducted a Hygiene and Sanitation Education Program in the school as well, to teach about the importance of proper hygiene and sanitation practices.
Bibi is still a HUGE part of the E.P.I.C. Team, and as the Tanzanian Founder, she plays an important role in the continued running of every project. Her children Kisinda, Irene and Joel are all part of the E.P.I.C. team in Tanzania too, which is what makes E.P.I.C. different from so many other organizations. It is truly a Grassroots, family run organization, with heart for the community at the center of each of its projects.